Saturday, February 6, 2021

"Stinking Cheese" and Other Family Tree Traditions

Among the artifacts handed down in my mother's family were bound books of typed notes from 30 years of Farkas Family Tree monthly meetings. Founded in 1933 to keep the bonds strong among Farkas siblings, in-laws, and cousins, the Tree association celebrated every occasion (birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, start of summer, end of summer, etc.) with food. Hosting duties rotated around the tree, and hosts outdid themselves in feeding the many relatives who attended each meeting. 

Children and adults alike filled their plates during the main meal, then adults stayed at the table for the "business meeting" which consisted of a treasurer's report (yearly dues: $5 per adult), secretary's report (reading minutes from previous meeting), entertainment committee report (organizing card parties, fishing trips, picnics), and constitution committee (as children of immigrants, they believed in clearly delineating how the Tree association would function). 

What the hosts served changed with the seasons. Even the two "Bachelor Brothers" (my great uncles, Julius Farkas and Peter Farkas) enjoyed hosting and putting out a mouth-watering spread. As shown above in an excerpt from the minutes, when they hosted in April of 1937, the brothers and their sister-in-law Sadie served: hot dogs, sauerkraut, pickled tongue, pastrami, breads, mustard, and "stinking cheese." The brothers operated a dairy shop specializing in cheese, and the "stinking cheese" they brought to most meetings was a running joke and treasured tradition for 30 years. 

In all weather, in all economic circumstances, the minutes make clear that the family embraced its tradition of eating together, playing together, and staying together. When the older generation began to pass away, the family mourned together. My maternal grandfather Teddy led a moment of silence every March, honoring the memory of Tree members who were gone--but never forgotten.

This is my "In the kitchen" post for week 5 of #52Ancestors


  1. What a beautiful tradition and I love the 'stinking cheese' addition. It makes me long for the days of large family gatherings.

  2. samuelalbertsaxon36@gmail.comFebruary 07, 2021

    My Murray Family had an association with a Seago Fàrkás in Albany ,Georgia in the 1920s - 30s .Not related to him but more of a friendly rivalry !

  3. Thanks Lisa and Samuel for reading about the Farkas family and "stinking cheese" in my post--and taking the time to leave me a comment! Stay well.

  4. A running joke truly defines a family, don't you think? I love that.